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DAVID HENRY HWANG INTERVIEW
It's OK to be Wrong and/or It's OK to be Hwang
Presentations of idiosyncratic history pageants with a sense of humor and musicality
A Creative Soul, Successful Playwright, Screenwriter and Librettist with All the Work He can Handle

 

LIFE AS A LIBRETTIST
The next part of our interview, we will illuminate an ever-increasing and important part of David's career of being an opera librettist - a logical extension of his artistic and creative pursuits. For people unfamiliar with what a librettist is - a librettis is the author of a libretto.
Libretto - a short description is the following: "The text of a dramatic musical work, such as an opera / oratorio or the text of an opera or an oratorio. Although a play usually emphasizes an integrated plot, a libretto is most often a loose plot connecting a series of episodes. Characterization and emotion are suggested by the words of a libretto but are expressed by the music."

A libretto is the complete body of words used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, sacred or secular oratorio and cantata, musical, and ballet. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass and requiem. The libretto includes the stage directions, the lyrics to the musical numbers, and any spoken passages or pantomime, as applicable. The word libretto is an Italian word which translates literally as "little book." It is distinct from a synopsis or scenario of the plot. The relationship of the librettist (i.e., the writer of a libretto) to the composer in the creation of a musical work has varied over the centuries, as have the sources and the writing techniques employed.
For more info, click HERE

 
David & Osvaldo Golijov
 
AINADAMAR & OSVALDO GOLIJOV
US ASIANS: What themes of Federico Garcia Lorca (Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jésus García Lorca - Federico "of the Sacred Heart of Jesus") that he wrote about within his plays and poetry that struck a responsive and unique chord within your creative soul?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Basically, I was interested in the fact that Lorca seems to have predicted his own death in his play, "Mariana Pineda," because I myself find that most of the significan events in my own life have first been forshadowed in my work.

US ASIANS: What new creative options did you discover upon your study of Lorca's synthesis of folk and modern traditions in your search of finding additional options of blending elements of Asian traditions together with questions pertaining to modern (and Western) society, such as your Tony Award-winning play M. Butterfly?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I felt I could relate to and feel for Lorca's creative impulses, since I am also drawn towards a synthesis of folk/popular and so-called "high art" elements.

US ASIANS: Did the subject of a production based on the life of Lorca fascinated you because of the many parallels between your life and his - such as the following: 1) raised in influential families; 2) mothers were teachers; 3) lived in a culturally diverse regional centers; 4) felt the need to leave during a "coming of age" period; 5) exhibited great musical talent; 6) arranged/composed music; 7) attended prestigious schools to satisfy family expectations; ingrained/embedded passion to write; witness prejudice (i.e. Lorca - expulsion of the Jews and Arabs from Spain) and: 8) passionate about synthesizing various influences in communicating ideas through various media outlets?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Actually, I hadn't thought of those parallels, but they're very interesting.

US ASIANS: Did extra preparations and/or considerations were factored in writing your libretto, knowing that Golijov would be translating it into Spanish - especially noting that each language has its own unique rhythms, rhymes and pronunciations?

 
OSVALDO GOLIJOV
 
 
 
Osvaldo Golijov
Golijov, Osvaldo (b. December 5, 1960, La Plata). Argentinean-born American composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and vocal works that have been performed throughout the world.

Prof. Golijov studied piano privately with his mother and then at a local conservatory. He also studied composition privately with Gerardo Gandini in Buenos Aires, with Mark Kopytman at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem from 1983-86 and with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania, where earned his PhD. He also studied with Lukas Foss and Oliver Knussen as a fellow at Tanglewood in 1990.

His honors include the Koussevitzky Composition Prize (1990), the Paul Fromm Award (1992), two Kennedy Center Friedheim awards (1993, 1995), the BMW-Preis for music theatre composition from the Biennale München (1994), the Stoeger Prize for Contemporary Music from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (1996), and the Diapason d'Or (1997). He has received commissions from the Barlow Foundation, the Biennale München, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the European Music Festival, the Guggenheim Foundation, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and the Spoleto Festival.

Prof. Golijov is also active in other positions. He served as composer-in-residence to Merkin Hall in New York from 1998-2000 and to the Music Alive series of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 2001-02.

He has taught as an associate professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts since 1991 and is also on the faculties of the Boston Conservatory of Music and Tanglewood.
For more invo, click
HERE.

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Not really. I believe one of my functions as an opera librettist is to inspire the composer to do his/her best work. I knew Osvaldo was going to translate the libretto into Spanish and make it his own, which seemed to me all for the good.

US ASIANS: Could you, as an accomplished musician, describe the various joys of working with the world of Spanish folk music, tango, rumba, madrigals of Gesualdo, Strauss, klezmer, various Latin American styles/dance forms and flamenco - in addition to Golijov's "modern" technique that fuses these influences with Western concert music?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Perhaps the best way of conveying my love for Golijov's music and fusion of styles is that I regularly listen to this opera on my ipod!

US ASIANS: With your creative inclinations to the merging, or pointed diverging, of the political and the personal - which is a key to Lorca's Mariana Pineda - was your participation an exploration part of your on-going search to discover new options to express your various viewpoints/perspectives?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Yes, but my primary reason for taking on the project was that Osvaldo was so charmingly persistent in soliciting my participation, and that I was so knocked-out when I heard the recording of his "Passion."

US ASIANS: What was the main draw of participating in a production that dealt with Federico Garcia Lorca - arguably the most important Spanish-language poet and dramatist of recent centuries - and Mariana Pineda - both people who were passionate about their respective causes and ultimately dying for their passions in Ainadamar ("Fountain of Tears" - the place where Lorca was shot)?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I do feel that sometimes my work emphasizes the intellectual over the emotional, and so working in an overtly passionate culture gave me the opportunity to stretch myself in this direction.

US ASIANS: Recognizing the lure of Lorca's many passions attracting Osvaldo Golijov and yourself, could a future project of working on a "puppet opera" (like what Lorca and composer Manuel de Falla) did and/or projects that involved cante jondo or "deep song" - the music of the Gypsies that is considered to be the roots of popular flamenco?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I hadn't considered working on a puppet opera, but Osvaldo does incorporate "deep song" into "Ainadamar," and I would love to explore that music further on some future project.

US ASIANS: Did you enjoy the creative journey of stripping away the gilding of legend from Lorca's life in order to recapture Federico as an individual, to regain the meaning of that individual's life and death for those, like Margarita, who loved him for the "audience?"

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Yes, very much so. One of my thematic preoccupations has been the process by which human beings are objectified, either with the individual's own consent and participation, or against his/her will.

His theater success has provided opportunities to be a screenwriter,
read about his experiences and challenges by clicking HERE.

Discover David's Viewpoints on the Wide Spectrum of Subjects by Clicking on the Below-Listed Links
AUTHENTICITY
CULTURE
CREATIVE PROCESS
DIVERSITY
MUSIC & MUSICALS

Applications
Authenticity vs. Stereotypes
Definition
Frank Chin Battles
Stereotypes - David's Views

THEATER
1000 Airplanes on the Roof
Chinese Railroad Workers
Dance and the Railroad
Family & Christianity
Family Devotion
FOB
Golden Child & Christianity
Origins of Interest
Rich Relations
Sound of a Voice
Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds
Trying to Find Chinatown

 

 

Critical Thinking
Cultural Symbol
Debating Issues
Ethnic Isolationism
Its Issues
Representations

PERSONAL INFO
2nd Marriage & Its Joys
David on Ismail Merchant
Henry Hwang (Father)
Kathryn Hwang (Wife)
Overview
Parents & Relatives
Parting Words
Personal Facts

SUPPORT
Financial
Needed from APA Artists
From Our Communities

 

Choices
Collaborators

Days of Education & Learning
Dealing with Expectations
Failure's Particular Lessons
Inappropriate Characters
Influences & Inspirations
"Lost Empire" Experience
Pressures with Success
Role Models
Working with Lucia Hwong
Working with Philip Glass
Working with Unsuk Chin

NEW & PAST PROJECTS
Chinese Mafia-type Films
Desired Projects
Hello Suckers
Inspiration of China
Status of Past Projects
Tarzan
Texas Guinan
The Fly
Yellow Face

 

APA Theater Organizations
Blind-Casting
Calvin Jung
Current Status
Daring Films w/Asian Males
Definition of an APA
Ethnic Theater
Life as a Librettist (Ainadamar)
Life as a Role Model
Ms. Saigon Protest
Perceptions
Proteges & Artists
Recognizing APA Artists
State of Asian Women Writers
Welly Yang Learning History

LIFE AS A SCREENWRITER
Across the Nightingale Floor
Experience with Hollywood
Golden Gate & M.Butterfly
Interculturalism & Objective Truth
NBC's Lost Empire
Neal Labute's "Possession"

 

Its Importance
M.Butterfly
Today's APA Communities
Working with Prince

FLOWER DRUM SONG
Anna May Wong
Arabella Hong-Young
Background Research
C.Y. Lee
Creative Choices
Its Importance
Original Version
Remembering Our History

REVIEWS
Yellow Face

       
       
       

 

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